Baby Safety Education and Resources
Did you know Indiana has a high infant mortality rate? In fact, the Hoosier State had the 14th highest infant mortality rate. Sadly, this represents 6.5 infants dying per 1,000 live births.
The Indy Star article reported 2019 was our all-time low but that still meant 527 babies across the state died before their first birthday. The article goes on to point out that the Hispanic infant mortality rate hit its lowest point in 10 years in 2020 while the non-Hispanic white infant rate was the lowest since 2012. The Black infant mortality rate, which had dipped almost 30% to 11.0 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019 rose to 13.2 deaths in 2020.
Locally, in 2017, Wayne County had 5 babies die before they reached their first birthday.
According to the Indiana University Health website, Indiana’s infant mortality rate is 20 percent higher than the national average, and twice as many deaths happen in the first year as during the next 13-years of life.
That’s a lot of data, so what’s the bottom line? Indiana, along with our local communities, has a long way to go to improve our infant mortality rate.
Causes of Infant Mortality – Why Indiana Has A High Infant Mortality Rate
So, what causes Indiana to have such a high infant mortality rate? Great question! Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons an infant can die before his or her first birthday. According to the CDC, causes include birth defects, preterm birth or low birth weights, injuries, and maternal pregnancy complications.
However, the reason Indiana’s rates are higher is because we have a higher percentage of babies dying from sudden unexplained infant death syndrome (SUIDS), formerly known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Holly Wood, from the Indiana State Department of Health, shared in December of 2019 that approximately 40 percent of post-neonatal (after 28 days of life) deaths were due to SUID, and that out of 105 SUID cases, 99 of which identified a single unsafe sleep factor. So, how can we make a difference in the lives of Wayne and Union Counties babies? Simply put, through education.
Baby Safety Education in Indiana
Parenting can be difficult; there are many unknowns, especially for brand new parents. However, we can reduce some of the worries and anxiety parents experience while also reducing the infant mortality rate by sharing best practices. The state of Indiana and local organizations have been working on initiatives to help educate parents and caregivers on the best practices for caring for infants.
The state has provided resources for education by providing grants to Indiana organizations to support infant safety training and resources. Additionally, large organizations like IU Health and Riley Hospital are educating parents and caregivers.
Local Baby Safety Education
Luckily, we don’t have to rely just on the state or organizations in Indianapolis, have some local program partners working hard to help educate Wayne and Union counties residents on infant safety. Parents and caregivers are both receiving education on best practices like infant car safety, sleeping practices, illnesses, and many other topics that all parents and caregivers need to know to provide a safe environment for their babies.
One of our program partners offering new parents’ classes is Community Care. Read our blog to learn more about Community Care. They offer free educational courses to new parents in Union County. This resource is filling an education gap for parents in Union County. They learn best practices for caring and providing for their newborn baby. Go to their Facebook page for more information.
Birth to Five has a program called “Parents as Teachers.” Birth to Five knows that the first years of a child’s life are some of the most important when it comes to development. This is why they are working with parents to provide them with the proper education to care for their children. They even offer home visits to parents to help provide them with education within their own homes, including developing appropriate activities that they can do right in their own house. For more information about the programs offered by Birth to Five, go to their website.
It is essential that the caregivers and parents are up to date on the best practices for infant safety. Even if you have been caring for newborns for a long time, there is always something new to learn. Check out available resources and program partners supporting baby safety in Wayne and Union counties.
Available Online Resources
There are many available resources to help parents and caregivers learn best practices for caring for infants. Even if you aren’t a caregiver or parent, you can share these resources with people in your life to get the information to those who need it most.
- Brighter Futures Indiana
- Indiana University Health
- Healthy Children
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Early Learning Indiana
- Indiana Department of Health: Safe Sleep Program
- Reid Health: Baby Care Basics
- Reid Health: For The Parent Blog
Learn More About United Way of Whitewater Valley
Baby Safety in Wayne and Union counties is important! Many parents want to provide a safe environment for their babies, but they don’t know-how. That is why we are proud to support organizations within our community working to solve this problem. Learn more about how we are supporting childhood success in Wayne and Union counties.
Get to know more about our program partners working in our four focus areas: childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, and access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do at United Way of Whitewater Valley.